How an ASC created 2 robotic-assisted surgery programs during the pandemic

When hospitals paused elective surgeries and cut spending during the COVID-19 pandemic, some ASCs chose to invest in technology to facilitate growth.

Stefanie Moertz, RN, administrator of Los Angeles-based DOCS Surgical Hospital, spoke with Becker's ASC Review about how her center managed to create a robotic-assisted orthopedic and spine program during the pandemic.

Editor's note: Responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Question: What are you most proud of in your time as administrator?

Stefanie Moertz: I am most proud of helping to create two very successful orthopedic and spine robotic-assisted programs in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. DOCS Health didn't just survive COVID-19 — we flourished in it. As major hospitals cancelled cases and closed doors, we were able to successfully and safely transfer the care of a typical hospital patient to the outpatient setting — a feat most major hospitals were unable to timely coordinate.

Without furloughs, reductions in employee hours or major disruptions to caseload, we harnessed the power of the most cutting-edge surgical technology to keep business going and thriving. 

I know it seems counterintuitive, but as major hospitals reduced spending, we actually chose to invest more. DOCS Health invested in two Stryker Mako Robots, the Medtronic Mazor and the Globus Excelsius GPS Robotic Navigation. We more than doubled down on the safety, efficiency and quality of patient care. 

There is a new paradigm in outpatient orthopedic and spine surgery — robotic assistance. What was once only fantasy is now reality. I am extremely proud and honored to have served on a multidisciplinary team of like-minded healthcare workers who put patient care, safety and satisfaction in the forefront through the utilization of technological advancement.

What's next? Surgeons on hoverboards?    

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